“What present do you want for your birthday?”
Editor(s):juurensha, Jane, jelly
A small, silvery white bird sped through the endless white snow drifting down outside, catching up with the train, before it gently pecked at the window. Xiang Cheng turned his head to look out the window, and that little bird flew up high again before vanishing entirely.
Xiang Cheng scooted to the side of the window to peek. His lips moved a little, and he said quietly, “Goba, go, don’t chase after me anymore.”
The small bird vanished, and Xiang Cheng took off his hat, ran his hand through his hair, scratched his head a few times, and stuck his hands into his pockets. He curled his long legs up, leaning in front of the swaying bathroom, nodding off.
At six in the early morning, the train had already been on this journey for twenty-one hours when it arrived in Guangzhou. Xiang Cheng, swept along by the flood of people returning south for theNew Year’s travel rush, was squeezed out of the train station. Because he couldn’t find his ticket, as he was exiting, he was almostlocked up in a little black room.
After leaving the train station, he heard Cantonese all around him. A light rain was falling from the sky, and at the newspaper stand, the owner was watching TV while warming himself with a heater, causing Xiang Cheng to be filled with confusion as he watched this scene.
“I want to make a call,” Xiang Cheng said.
The owner didn’t notice him at all. Xiang Cheng raised his voice a little and said, “Boss, I want to make a call!”
“Then make a call!” the owner said. “What are you staring at me for?”
Xiang Cheng put down his leather trunk and pulled out his cellphone to browse through his messages. Then, according to a message there, he gave a friend of a friend, who his old acquaintance from the same hometown had introduced, a call to find somewhere to stay temporarily.
No one picked up the phone, so Xiang Cheng could only wait to the side as the owner glared at him.
A moment later, Xiang Cheng tried again, but still, no one picked up. He still had ten dollars left on his phone; the roaming fees were too expensive, so he had to use his phone wisely. Plus, this phone had been used for too many years, and as battered as it was, it sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. Sometimes, it’d even automatically hang up the call, which frustrated him to no end.
Every ten minutes, Xiang Cheng made another call, for a total of four times. The owner stared at Xiang Cheng the entire time, obviously resenting this damned migrant worker standing in front of his newspaper stand taking up space. Xiang Cheng could only give up, and he bent over to pick up that huge backpack that loomed like a mountain, only to suddenly realize - the handheld leather suitcase on the ground had disappeared!
Xiang Cheng immediately froze on the spot, before he looked left and right, slinging the backpack over his
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